By Tara McKenna
If we haven’t been through enough already in the past two years we’re now contending with a potential recession and more inflation, which, combined, is stagflation.
Ugh. And yikes.
It seems every time I go to the grocery store that the price has gone up since my last visit. I’m sure I’m not alone in noticing the increased costs of shopping for necessities.
First, I’ll say that my book, Don’t Be Trashy: A Practical Guide to Living with Less Waste and More Joy, is filled with tips and guides that will help make life more affordable in any economy, and during inflation. So, if you haven’t read it already, now is the time!
Given our circumstances of rising prices, most of us will be feeling the pinch right now. Here are some simple tips to make life more affordable during high inflation (that will also reduce waste – win-win!):
Repair broken things
Typically, when something breaks, we toss the item and buy a new one instead. Normally, that’s even the cheaper option! With rising prices, it could very well be that the cheaper option is to repair your broken stuff. This is both better for your wallet and the planet. And, apparently, a common thing to do during a recession.
I was having my car repaired recently, and my auto repair shop has been swamped lately due to many people fixing their cars – and they told me that they get extremely busy during recessions because people look after older cars instead of buying new ones (makes sense).
My question is, why don’t we make repairing our stuff a normal activity, recession or not? Food for thought.
Swap stuff with friends and neighbours
Whether you host a clothing swap or pass along toys your kiddos have outgrown to your friends, family and neighbours, the options to swap stuff are endless. You can swap instead of shop! Join a Buy Nothing Group on Facebook or find/list free stuff on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.
Shop the discounts at the grocery store
When things are about to expire – such as baked goods at the bakery section or pre-made salads in the produce section – they tend to go on sale at 50% off. You’ll need to eat it quickly of course, like that day or the next day, but it’ll be a good deal! Plus, you’re saving food waste by buying it and eating it promptly.
Are you a coupon clipper? Check out the Flipp app!
Buy less but better quality
This might not save money upfront, but if you buy things that are built to last, you’ll shop less in the long run. Buying cheap stuff made of lower quality materials and with low quality construction means you’ll end up with a broken item that is likely hard to fix (making the first tip hard to follow through on).
If you have the room in your budget for the better-quality item, then consider making the investment. You’ll save money by not having to replace it often, and – hopefully – benefit from higher repairability.
These are common lifestyle choices within the low waste community that will hopefully become mainstream under our current circumstances. But if previous recessions are any indication, these habits tend to fall by the wayside once the economy takes a turn for the better.
Regardless of the state of the economy, the above tips are good practices for the environment and for our finances.
Another quick note...
Support small businesses
While we may be more closely guarding our wallets these days by making careful and calculated purchases, I want to remind everyone to support small, local, and independent businesses.
Grocery stores fare well in recessions because people need groceries, and sometimes they even do more than fare well because people spend extra money on treats like candy and alcohol. This can come at the expense of small businesses.
Consider if you have any wiggle room to use some of your budget towards supporting small businesses to keep them afloat during this difficult time. Supporting small, local, and independent businesses (whether they are brick-and-mortar or online) will be helping your neighbours, friends, and community keep the lights on, and will keep people working - woot!
As with all things, this too shall pass.
I hope you enjoyed these tips! If so, please share this article, and my book, with friends!